ARTICLE ABSTRACTPurpose: EGF-stimulated signaling via EGF receptor (EGFR) is important in colorectal tumorigenesis and drug targeting. However, anti-EGFR therapy is not effective in a subset of patients with colorectal cancer, suggesting that unidentified EGF-stimulated pathways might play roles in colorectal cancer. Previously, we identified KAI1 C-terminal interacting tetraspanin (KITENIN) as a metastasis-enhancing gene and found it to be highly expressed in sporadic colorectal cancer tissues. We recently found that EGF further increases KITENIN-induced elevated AP-1 activity. Here we attempted to clarify this novel EGF-stimulated molecular pathway and its roles in colorectal cancer.Experimental Design: We analyzed how EGF modulates the downstream signaling pathway of oncogenic KITENIN in colorectal cancer cells. Biological alterations following EGF treatment were identified in KITENIN-overexpressed colorectal cancer cells with or without alteration of EGFR activity.Results: We identified the KITENIN/ErbB4–Dvl2–c-Jun axis as a novel downstream signal of EGF that is switched on under elevated KITENIN conditions in an EGFR-independent manner. This unconventional EGF signal upregulates c-Jun and enhances invasion and anchorage-independent growth of colorectal cancer cells. In addition, tumor tissues from metastatic patients with colorectal cancer who showed initial poor responses to cetuximab/chemotherapy expressed higher levels of KITENIN than did responders to therapy.Conclusions: Our results highlight the role of an EGFR-independent EGF signal in mediating the invasiveness and tumorigenesis of colorectal cancer cells. This unconventional pathway might be related to the limited clinical efficacy of anti-EGFR agents in a subset of patients with colorectal cancer. Clin Cancer Res; 20(15); 4115–28. ©2014 AACR.